From the Shadows

The Australian War Memorial here in Canberra, (which is actually a big military museum, not just a “memorial”), currently has an exhibition about the Special Forces: From the Shadows. As Monday was a public holiday we thought we’d better go and see it before we forget and it closes!

When we arrived, the brand new Army recruits were on a visit from Kapooka, and lined up outside for a group photograph.

The first two images are from the Special Forces part. The third is from the Vietnam War section of the building (my father is a veteran, and there are exhibits dedicated specifically to where he lived in Vietnam, and to a major battle he fought).

The fourth photograph is the view down ANZAC Parade from the War Memorial entrance. You can’t see it, but at the end of the road is Lake Burley Griffin, and then Australian Parliament is in the background.

ANZAC Parade is the street where people honour Australia’s military, and where parades happen. Both sides of the street are lined with monuments to military events (e.g. the First and Second World Wars, Vietnam, and beyond).

Look at the spectacular blue sky! According to the national news, it was cloudy and raining in Canberra. Uh…

IMG_20180312_175846_799 From the Shadows Special Forces Exhibition Sonya Heaney Oksana 12th March 2018 Australian War Memorial Canberra Australian Army Australian Armed Forces

IMG_20180312_180202_131 Vietnam War Sonya Heaney Oksana 12th March 2018 Australian War Memorial Canberra Australian Army Australian Armed Forces

IMG_20180312_180445_236 Sonya Heaney Oksana 12th March 2018 Australian War Memorial Canberra Australian Army Australian Armed Forces ANZAC Parade Parliament House

The Week: 24th – 30th April

Gorgeous Friday afternoon in Canberra.

Autumn colours this week.

Autumn Flowers Garden Canberra Australia After the Rain Sonya Heaney 26th April 2017 Nature

After the rain. Wednesday afternoon. We have autumn flowers everywhere all of a sudden.

Autumn FINALLY hit us this week. So annoying that Tuesday – Anzac Day – was not a nice day, when we’d been having summer weather until now. We apparently had 38 000 people at the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra, thousands more than other cities with populations six or more times ours. Not a bad effort!

Christopher Heaney Australian Army Vietnam War 1968 1969 IMG_0078My father in Nui Dat (Vietnam) in the 1960s.

We went to lunch with my war veteran father, who’d been planning to march this year (he never does), but then changed his mind. The place we chose was almost completely booked out for a reunion of military intelligence people – so many men and women with their medals! My father impressed them, however. One actually commented he was a “real” veteran because of all the combat he’d seen.

On Saturday evening I went to buy some wine – and got asked for ID again (or “carded”, as I believe Americans say). Now, I’m closer to forty than thirty, and the legal drinking age here is eighteen. I first worked in a bar in the year 2000. Exactly what point in time are people going to stop asking me if I’m older than schoolchildren?! People keep saying: take it as a compliment. But… Especially when it’s a teenager at the cash register! I think: I am literally old enough to be your mother!

The bombed car on the back of a truck after the attack.

This week an American citizen was killed in a Russian car bomb in Ukraine. (RT News – the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda channel – was on the scene within three minutes of the bombing, because that’s NOT suspicious in any way!!). Whereas Donald Trump was all over Twitter about the American killed in the Westminster terror attack, calling him a hero and all of that, there was deafening silence from the US government over what was essentially a political assassination in Ukraine.

I guess the president only values some Americans…

My review of Blindsided (Men of Steele #3) by Gwen Hernandez

Anzac Day – Recommended Reads

Lisa Kleypas Interview

Vintage War Romance

Free read over at Harlequin

The Handmaid’s Tale Premieres

A note on something that happened last week.

Vintage War Romance

Tomorrow is the forty-second anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War. It wasn’t all that long ago authors like Suzanne Brockmann were still using Vietnam veterans as their romantic heroes!

There’s an idea that romances from decades ago were all doctor/nurse, boss/secretary power plays, but I came across Vietnam Nurse the other day.

I actually think this one, from 1966 and now fifty-one years old, sounds interesting. I wish more authors were brave enough to use current events in their stories (most military books I’ve read recently have involved totally made-up situations).

Vietnam Nurse by Della Field released September 1966

Natalie Knight of the Navy Nurse Corps had come a long way from Oregon to the battle-torn plains and jungles of Vietnam. But it was a journey of love and devotion. She was looking for Tom, her Green Beret fiancé. He had been reported as missing, but Natalie did not give up hope. She knew that Tom, and hundreds like him, needed her…

Goodbye Lullaby by Jan Murray

Australia – the great country of the “ANZAC Pride” – treated their Vietnam War conscripts appallingly. The “Welcome Home” parade for them was finally held in 1987.

My father returned from Vietnam in 1969!

So this book sounds very interesting as far as I’m concerned! I only hope it doesn’t have too much “soldiers are evil” stuff in it, because that would really infuriate me…

Goodbye Lullaby by Jan Murray

In September 1971, 181 numbered marbles roll around in a barrel while Australia holds its breath. The last number drawn will shatter two women’s lives, and bring them together again…

Sixteen-year-old Caroline ‘Miki’ Patrick confides to her best friend — the outspoken, smart-mouthed Jude — that she’s pregnant. Miki’s parents place her in the iron embrace of St Anthony’s, a home for wayward girls, with the scheming Sister Angela pressuring her to give up her baby. But Jude convinces Miki they can raise the child, and together they make a pact and take to the road.

But the teenagers are ill-prepared for the hardships they face, and after one particularly difficult night, fate separates them. Alone, poor and scared for her baby’s welfare, Miki ultimately surrenders Dominic to the home.

Two decades later, Miki is a dangerous woman, and she’s on the run. A vocal anti-war activist who assists draft dodgers, Miki is hiding from the Federal Police and never stays in one place very long. That is, until Dominic’s birthday is drawn in the conscription lottery and Jude steps back into her life.

Now Miki and Jude will stop at nothing to be reunited with him…

Battle of Long Tan Cross in Canberra

We went to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra today to see the Long Tan cross. My Vietnam veteran father stood there a while looking at it before announcing that he’d seen the cross lots of times before. Apparently they used to drive past it all the time in Vietnam!

So… anticlimax there!

It also turns out that one of the men in the famous Long Tan photo that’s everywhere at the War Memorial was one of my father’s friends during the war. He is closest to the cross, on the left of the picture.

It was such a beautiful, sunny, warm day in Canberra, and the War Memorial is a great place. We detoured to see the two most recent Victoria Cross medals too – won by Special Forces soldiers Mark Donaldson and Benjamin Roberts-Smith.